Remember how we heard yesterday that Matt Holliday was considered “doubtful” to return this season? Well, don’t count him out yet.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed that Matt Holliday was cleared to swing a bat off a tee this afternoon.
“Over the last 48 hours, we are a little more optimistic,” Mozeliak told the media this afternoon. “The easiest way to think about it is as a day-to-day progression. He’s been cleared to swing the bat.”
Holliday hasn’t played since last Tuesday due to inflammation in his right middle finger. Mozeliak said there has been some “reduction” in the inflammation, leading to increased “optimism” that he will be available at some point during the final week of the regular season.
Holliday, 31, is batting .295/.388/.528 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI and a .915 OPS over 503 plate appearances this season. Allen Craig will continue to play left field for now as the Cardinals attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.